For many teens, exam season is the most stressful time of the whole year and studies have shown that this is reflected in their sleep patterns. The sleep council completed a survey amongst teens at the beginning of this year regarding how they sleep in the lead up to exams.
Some of the statistics that came from this research will be a tad shocking to many of us:
- In the lead up to exams the number of teens getting between just 5 and 6 hours of sleep a night doubles from 10% to 20%.
- Exam worry and stress has an impact on 83% of teenagers when they’re trying to get to sleep.
- 56% of teens admit to cramming all their revision into one night.
This research showed that an extremely high number of teenagers aren’t getting the amount of sleep they need to function, let alone the amount needed to perform their best in exams.
Sacrificing their sleep to revise may be doing more harm than good to their performance and their results.
Why is Sleep Important to Teens
Our body clocks alter in our teen years so that staying up later and struggling to wake up seems like the norm. However, this is not healthy for you, a lot of our body’s development takes place when sleeping in your teen years.
Getting the right amount of sleep can impact your body physically as a teenager, it will help you to maintain a healthy weight, release the correct amount of growth hormones and even benefit your skin.
Sleep is especially important around exam season for your mental health; it has huge benefits to your mind. The correct amount of sleep will help you with concentrating and memorising facts and figures, you will also be able to cope better with stress, and you will be less likely to feel down.
Students need 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night and this is even more important in the nights leading up to an exam or even when you’re studying.
How Can You Improve This
82% of teenagers do their homework or revision on their bed which can be detrimental to getting a great night’s sleep and is a small but extremely effective change to make. The same can be said for eating in their rooms – especially highly sugary or caffeinated food and drinks.
A bedroom should be the perfect environment for sleeping, and if you’re revising or eating on your bed, it can impact this environment. Your brain will no longer see your bed and bedroom as a sleeping environment only, so it will be much harder to relax and switch off your brain.
A bed may be a great place to spread out papers and flashcards, but it will be much more beneficial to your sleep if you designate areas of your room for sleeping, studying and entertainment. This helps to give you boundaries and will aid your brain in understanding that when you are on your bed, it is time to sleep and relax.
Ditch the phone or tablet the hour before you want to go to sleep, studies have shown that screen time before bed can double the amount of time it will take you to get to sleep.
Share any worries that you may have about upcoming exams or if you’re feeling stressed. This can have a huge impact on getting a good night’s sleep, so sharing these worries and stresses with somebody can really help to ease your mind of these issues.
If you’re a teenager who struggles with getting enough sleep over exam periods, try some of these small changes that could make a massive difference. On the other hand, if you’re a parent and your teen is struggling with the exam period try to help them get enough sleep over this period and reassure them that sleep is a key factor to success.